Original art by @modográfico

There was something disturbingly Black Mirror about the events of yesterday, when a group of rebels were murdered after trying to surrender to the authorities.

It was a #DeathTo moment. In the last episode of the last season, Detective Parke and her team investigate a series of mysterious cases of people getting death threats that are fulfilled after a few days. Turns out, all the victims were targeted in a new Twitter craze, Game of Consequences. People tweeted #DeathTo, and then mentioned folks they thought had done something awful.

Death by hashtag.

That’s what yesterday felt like.

I like good TV. I’m an actress who’s really cocky about being able to tell the difference between a good performance and a poor one, and still I was quick to dismiss what Óscar Pérez was doing. Back in July 2017, when he first rebelled, I retweeted the flying comb meme, I said we should pay more attention to what was happening in the Parliament instead of Rambo Endógeno. I even tweeted “As long as Óscar Pérez doesn’t become the Hugo Chávez of 2020, it’s cool.”

I thought we were witnessing a Cuban plan, a smokescreen. I hate it when they call anyone a “supreme leader”, Leopoldo had just left Ramo Verde and I was paranoid. Also, I hate pretty much everyone who’s perceived as a messianic figure. I’m so ashamed of myself now.

But I’m more ashamed of my compatriots and I’m gonna ride my high horse. What my fellow Venezuelans did yesterday on social media makes me want to go like, #DeathTo @ALL OF YOU. I know, I’m not any better. Allow us, those of us who claim to be compassionate and more civil, to judge the fuck out of you, damned teclado warriors.

We saw his extrajudicial execution online, Black Mirror style.

This might be a show where all the characters are incredulous, arrogant, cruel, selfish, disrespectful assholes who can’t understand that it’ll take all of us being kinder, more united and forgiving, to overthrow a government so we can build an entire country back from the ashes.

In the operativo to capture him, grupos que operan al fucking margen de la fucking ley, colectivos, were involved, empowered and encouraged. Urban paramilitaries, in official capacity, killed Venezuelans under direct orders from the government. And, no, what he did has no resemblance to what el Comandante did in 1992. No civilians died when Óscar Pérez went rogue, hundreds of people did when Chávez decided the democratic way was beneath him. When Chávez surrendered, nobody killed him. Chávez was allowed to talk to the press, the only person who interviewed Pérez was Fernando del Rincón, the only window he had before this was his social media. Chávez had un indulto, our political prisoners don’t even get sunlight. When Chávez launched his coup d’etat, Venezuela was a democracy. This is now a dictatorship installed by Chávez, so don’t even. Chica para que porfa y gracias.

Not gonna say #DeathTo anyone who compares it, because I really want to be a more peaceful person who promotes values so we can fight the crisis, but whoever thinks it’s the same thing tiene muerte cerebral.

Then it struck me that maybe this isn’t Black Mirror.

Maybe the real parallel is closer to home.

I thought back to that viral video from Palmarito. “I can’t watch this,” I thought when I saw the first seconds of the angry mob chasing a cow, determined to beat it to death. Buddy, if you’re strong enough to kill a cow with your hands, maybe you are not that hungry. Maybe you are not that weak. Maybe you’re just a soulless criminal.

Yet we all saw it, we did nothing to stop it. We are the proverbial good people who let the bad ones do evil things and stay silent, only that we also mock, laugh and automatically doubt everything. It’s Black Mirror in Palmarito.

I don’t know, this might be a show where all the characters are incredulous, arrogant, cruel, selfish, disrespectful assholes who can’t understand that it’ll take all of us being kinder, more united and forgiving, to overthrow a government so we can build an entire country back from the ashes. And to get there, you better drop that repulsive cynicism.

Shame on you, heartless Venezuelans on Twitter. Shame on your cows.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. “I thought back to that viral video from Palmarito. “I can’t watch this,” I thought when I saw the first seconds of the angry mob chasing a cow, determined to beat it to death. Buddy, if you’re strong enough to kill a cow with your hands, maybe you are not that hungry. Maybe you are not that weak. Maybe you’re just a soulless criminal.”

    Welcome to the Venezuela many of us here recognized long ago. We pointed out these sort of things that seemed obvious to us and should have been obvious to everyone else, but instead of the owners of this site engaging in discussion about the topic or taking a long look in the mirror, we were typically insulted for being so insenstive, even accused of lacking morals. That’s fine. I can handle it. But the truth should never be feared.

    I’ve long said that when your neighbors wait until the night before you’re going to harvest and then steal everything they can haul off before daybreak, there’s something sick in the culture, something missing in the people’s core. Remeber, I’m talking about your NEIGHBORS. No, not all Venezuelans are like this. There are plenty of good people still in Venezuela, people I’m proud to call friends and business associates. But every day that goes by it seems there are fewer of them.

    Yeah, I’m in another funk right now with this whole situation. Probably get called a racist, a zenophobe, and lacking morals again. Or perhaps scolded for “not recognizing the good in my fellow man, not being lifted up by his spirit to overcome adversity”, and all such bullshit as that.

    Fine. It’s just tough watching a country that has so much potential, so many god-given resources that other people would die for, driving itself into this insane downward spiral of madness. .

    That’s what living here seems like some times. There really is no place like Venezuela.

    • How could you not be in a funk from time to time? I don’t know if that harvest story happened to you, but it seems that would shatter any sense of home and community, even if it was the work of just a few people.

      Anyway, god be with you and your family.

      • Thanks Rory for the kind words.

        No, the harvest story didn’t happen to me. Had it happened to me at least I could justify the mental gymnastics of trying to forgive them because they were stealing from an evil gringo who deserved it or something along those lines.

        No sir. I’m talking about neighbors sitting around and watching when the guy next door leaves for town because of an emergency and then racing over to his place to kill a hog, a cow, or just steal something he left outside the house.

        That harvest story has been told to me multiple times over the last couple of years……bell peppers, tomatos, egg plant, onions and corn in particular are the biggest targets. It’s got to be a devastating blow to someone who has paid for seed, plowing, planting, fertilizing, and all the work that goes into caring for a crop, only to find the entire crop stolen overnight the day they plan to harvest.

        I gave up on planting corn long before theft became a serious problem. For me, grain sorghum was the way to go. Nobody wants to try to harvest and process the stuff even though it’s a more complex and nutritous grain than corn.

  2. Twitter or no Twitter, these fresh assassinations are another big victory for the Tropical Narco-Kleptocracy.

    Another huge blow in the all important Fear-Factor department: “Vas a patalear? Esto es lo que les pasa a los que patalean.” The Chavista Thugs have demonstrated once again they are ready to crush whomever dares to go against them. And that they have carte-blanche to commit political assassinations any day of the week. Any mid-level military personnel thinking about rebellion got the message loud and clear. Don’t mess with the Criminal Narco-Regime. Exactly the same as it used to happen in Cuba. Text book scare tactics.

    The Chavista thugs do know the impact of social media, and perhaps this sealed OP’s fate. It was a show of force, knowing a lot of people would hear about it. To show who’s in charge, who’s got the big guns, and what happens to those who dare to talk or shake things up too much. Another big step in the Cuban totalitarian direction: apply deadly force, repress any rebellion, crush it, and publicize it, setting a clear precedent, a deadly example.

    Real soon, Venezuelan pueblo-people in the streets will be just as scared to even talk openly against the regime as they’ve been in Cuba for decades. Just a matter of time.. Another triumph for the bloody and scary dictatorship: see how many low-level rebels wanna rock the boat from now on.. Probably none.

    Typical totalitarian fear tactics, already working to perfection in Klepto-Cubazuela.

  3. “Have we become the good people who make it possible for evil to triumph by doing nothing?”

    Maybe the good people who do/did nothing are getting what they deserve in Chavismo?

    Sooner or later, the “good people” are going to have to start going after (violently) each and every symbol of oppression. (GNB, PNB, colectivos) If not, Venezuela becomes Cuba, because I don’t see an instance of ANYONE coming to Venezuela’s rescue. I’ve said it numerous times… if Venezuelans won’t fight and die for their liberties, why should anyone else?

    From what I have seen so far, I am not optimistic.

    • “the “good people” are going to have to start going after (violently) each and every symbol of oppression. (GNB, PNB, colectivos) If not, Venezuela becomes Cuba,”

      AS LONG as people doesn’t go against the repressors, Venezuela will continue to be cuba’s latrine.

      Venezuela reached the “cuba” line a long time ago, and it has plummeted kilometers down since then.

  4. I think is possible to both find his adventure ill-planned and a bit too much of a narcissist trip, while finding the end of the whole thing absolutely monstruous and proof that he was more sincere than many gave him credit.

    But also… well, there is a bit of a point. At the time he did his stunt, we were hoping the political leadership of the opposition would be ready to go to the end of the necessary resistance to the ANC. To make a clear stand. To say that either the Constituyente was defeated or the country should be in rebellion to it, permanently.

    Just a few months later everything washed away. No leadership, no opposition, no nothing, total triumph of the bad guys in the middle of total disaster.

    If he had too much of a hothead and didnt really got to think things through, he at least had courage. Misplaced, unrealistic, in the end wasted, but mainly because nobody else followed, not him, but themselves. It was either the leadership playing stupid political games, or people just throwing the towel in despair.

    Of course that is easy for me to say, I didnt do it either, decades ago. So yep, I hate myself today a bit too.

  5. this whole site became a big black mirror into venezuelas reallity way before that series even got to nextfilx, you just got so irrelevant that your ego took over and by the time you realised you where in anther realm of reallity… way away in the multiverse where opposing means cohoperating and dictatorship means not tyrany but wait i need to be paid first…

  6. Is this really the time for the writers of this website to criticize the disgusting human beings that were making fun of this man’s execution? To me, you’re all the same. Read this: https://www.caracaschronicles.com/2017/06/28/the-chopper-coupster-false-flag-or-random-lunatic/

    No, seriously, read it. I found it equally revolting.

    You people compulsively decide to get on a high horse, pose as intellectuals and piss on everyone you consider to be beneath you, even though some of them might’ve actually marched and had to experience the absolute terror of being shot at just because they decided to join a demonstration. Well it just so happens you happened to piss on a group of patriots with actual cojones this time.

    It’s good that you feel at least SOME manner of shame. I hope your colleagues do as well. Go ahead and delete my comment if you find it offensive, but next time, please remember to actually inform yourself before ridiculing and judging others. You’re supposed to be serious journalists after all.

  7. Oscar Perez was a courageous man and a true patriot. He should be mourned as a genuine hero.

    He stated on numerous occasions that what he was doing was for “my country and for my family”.
    I can only hope that his key message will live on – that each individual in Venezuela needs to take personal responsability for liberating their country from a corrupt and illegitimate regime.

    The worst that can be said about him was that he was naive. His attempts to portray himself as a Rambo or Captain America character and his rhetoric – which sounded like a DC comic script – made him seem more like a Walter Mitty than a credible resistance leader. Even worse, the fact that the first militant action seemed designed (and probably was) to hit the headlines while avoiding hurting anyone led many people to speculate that he was a government stooge.

    We now know that he was neither a Walter Mitty nor a government stooge. He was a romantic – a Don Quixote, brave enough to be willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause. He really believed what he was saying. He believed that if he set himself up as an example, then he would inspire and give courage to a critical mass of people which would eventually bring down the government. Hence his continued emphasis on the need for individuals to take personal responsability for their democratic freedoms. While some may disagree with his judgement, his tactics or his actions, no-one can now doubt his sincerity – he was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country and his family.

    He has my profound respect as a man and as a patriot.

  8. MRubio, the elephant in the room is that we value charisma much much than any other trait. This of course happens everywhere. But here in Venezuela is a way of life. Across Socioeconomic classes or the political spectrum, someone who is superficially charming will always thrive much better than someone who is a decent person or even good at what they do. An environment like that drives capable people away and attracts sociopaths. It’s so ingrained in us that we accept incompetence as fact of life, our level of tolerance for incompetence is shocking to most foreigners (and I suspect that not a single one of them would even try to mention it, under pain of being called a Xenophobe) . This comes all the way from the top to the guy that has to clean the floors. Until that problem is solved, things will never change: We will always be a basket case country with a lot of unrealized potential. Mind you, it’s a problem that is extremely hard to solve. Even if people at the top of the hierarchy were able to actually admit this is the problem. It would take generations to fix it, if ever. Hell, right now, it looks like we’re leading the rest of the world in our particular kind of hellhole.

  9. If something has been proven by the people’s reaction on OP’s murder is true, is that a lot of people in Venezuela are a bunch of frickin’ ungrateful bastards.

    Expect the other groups that are working towards the liberation of the country to be much less caring about keeping the enemy forces lives (as well as those who might happen to be close)

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